Blue Frontiers: Managing the Environmental Costs of Aquaculture
Aquaculture presents unique environmental costs as well as opportunities for sustainable growth, an issue that was discussed during a webinar led by Stephen Hall, director general at the World Fish Center. SeaWeb hosted the June webinar, which was designed to encourage dialogue on fisheries in Asia leading up to SeaWeb's 10th International Seafood Summit in Hong Kong in September.
Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors in the world, with enormous growth in China and Asia, and the potential for providing sustainable solutions to feed a growing global population. These issues were examined in a report authored by Hall titled Blue Frontiers: Managing the Environmental Costs of Aquaculture.
Hall performed a "life cycle analysis" on 75 distinct aquaculture production systems using metrics including acidification, impacts on wild fish, and energy demand to address concerns about the environmental impacts of aquaculture. Energy and water audits and innovations with fishmeal production technology are highlighted as ways for the industry to improve sustainable practices. The findings also include a broad comparison of aquaculture with poultry and beef production systems, finding that aquaculture is an efficient way of converting plant material to animal protein and has the potential to reduce green house gas emissions through facility design and operation.
Hall also discussed the rising demand for seafood in relation to increasing wealth and urbanization in most of Asia, stressing the need for a regulatory environment that supports sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector. Hall urged participants to not " think about aquaculture in a box or fisheries in a box, but think about the whole fish-food system."
The webinar closed with questions posed by participants from the aquaculture, wild-caught fisheries, and retail industries, initiating an important conversation about aquaculture that will continue at SeaWeb's 10th International Seafood Summit in September and beyond.
Read the full report by Dr. Stephen Hall here. >>
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